By Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN
Juicing is a powerful way to get extra fruits, veggies and nutrients into our bodies. Including juice daily (especially ones that are mostly made from vegetables instead of fruits) can be a great way to easily boost veggie consumption, promote muscle repair, promote healthy skin, nails and hair — and so much more.
In fact, there are specific fruits and veggies you can add to your juices to promote various different health properties, from healthy muscles to decreased inflammation and more. Here are seven juice ingredients that target certain health benefits, plus details on how and when to include these ingredients.
Juice beets before you work out to help boost exercise endurance. Beets contain a specific nitrate that may help to amp up oxygen utilization by your body. Also, they’re a great source of electrolytes like potassium and sodium — not only does your body lose these electrolytes when you sweat, but both things are key for fluid balance and muscle contraction and relaxation.
Try adding 8 ounces of beet juice to your pre-workout routine.
Greens are a great source of a lot of things — and when I’m talking greens, I mean ones that are dark dark green such as collards, chard, kale and spinach (amongst others). These veggies have more protein than other veggies and may help to promote muscle repair after a workout.
If you usually add a handful (or so) of greens to your juices, try adding bumping it up to three or four handfuls and see how that makes you feel!
Pineapple contains a nutrient called bromelain that may help to reduce swelling — particularly after injury or minor surgery. Some research has found that it may be most effective for reducing swelling after sinus surgery. Pineapple may also be effective for promoting de-swelling of other minor injuries.
Try using 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup cut pineapple in your juices!
Tart cherries contain an antioxidant-rich nutrient called anthocyanin that may help to prevent muscle soreness from exercise. As an added benefit, tart cherries may also help to promote restful sleep. Be careful not to make too many all-fruit juices because they’re much higher in calories. Instead, pick and choose the fruits you want to use and make them sparingly!
Try drinking four to six ounces of tart cherry juice or add tart cherries to your juices on workout days.
Orange and yellow bell peppers contain a nutrient called beta carotene that may help to protect against sun damage and may help the cells in the skin repair from the UV rays from the sun. Bell peppers are also a hydrating and water-rich veggie that make a great snack.
Try swapping your traditional orange juice in the morning for a ½ bell pepper and ½ (fresh squeezed) orange mixture for lower sugar and more nutrients!
Parsley is one of the many herbs and vegetables that contain diuretic properties and may help to promote shedding of extra water. Additionally, parsley is a great herb that helps the body to naturally detoxify by up-regulating the body’s own detoxifying liver enzymes.
Try adding five or six sprigs of parsley to your next juice.
Mint is a natural pro-digestive health herb that can help to soothe stomachaches and keep the digestive system moving healthfully. Mint can also help to relieve nausea or feeling of a full stomach. Mint can also help to ease headaches and promote clearer respiratory tract may help to ease coughing too. It’s a pretty powerful herb!
Try adding three or four sprigs to your next juice for a refreshing and digestive healthy addition.